First off, you have to reconcile yourself to the fact that swimming is not particularly efficient at weight loss/fat loss. Walking/running is considerably more efficient for this, as you have found out. Even more so is added on dietary manipulation, for which I recommend " The Art And Science of Low Carbohydrate Living" and "The Art And Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance", both by Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek.
I cannot recommend more strongly that you find a (real life) Total Immersion Coach and take some hands on lessons in a pool. It will transform your life. Swimming will switch from being a fearful experience to a pleasure that you look forward to, and your efficiency (proportion of your physical energy and life energy being transformed to forward motion) will vastly increase. I came to TI at the age of 64 and it really works, even though physically I am a sinker with high specific gravity which you are not. But still I lost my fear of being in deep water.
At second best the on-line resources that TI markets are useful, but it takes self discipline and you still may not get it right for a while, whereas a coach will pick up little errors much faster in real time and you won't be imprinting these errors during your "training" in isolation. On the other hand, once you have had hands on coaching these resources take on a new usefulness.
You don't need a whole lot of strength for swimming well, but you do need some strength which the non-swimmer typically doesn't have yet. But even more so, you need technique and the confidence that will come with that. In the time that you acquire the technique, the specific strength will develop with you not even realizing it. The technique is the difficult part, but a good TI coach (the TI coaches are all certified, so I would venture to say that they are all good) will make it easiest for you. which is why I so strongly recommend finding one.
The other unanswered questions, in my opinion, are so much lower in priority that you can safely ignore them for now, and the answers will become clear to you once you start specific instruction in TI technique.
Last edited by sclim : 09-22-2017 at 01:03 AM.